A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In Like A Lion...(Forget the Rest!)

When it gets to be a bit much,
and you feel the stress growing
and your nerves fraying....

Take a moment, breathe,
and go deep.
Balance it out.
Put aside the horseshit.
Recognize the power you have.

Come back at it with a fresh take.

You have the power to take control
of every single aspect of your life.

Don't sell yourself out on what you can do!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Get Into The Groove

Following step-daddy's recent departure, there was a
gathering of family at Mom's house, some time after the
nontraditional funeral.

(At the celebration of life that commenced on his own
property, one of the poor relations had quipped that she
wouldn't be attending since it would likely be nothing
but a drunken orgy. She was not missed, but she also
was not off mark on the drinking aspect. These folks can
pack it away like nobody's business.)

But at Mom's it was just a small, casual dinner and
meet, with the five of us. Still, the drinks were flowing
plentifully. Lite beers, Kahlua, wine, mixed drinks, and
everything in between.

In addition to the preponderance of alcohol, there was
still constant pushing of the booze, as if my sobriety and
umpteen reminders that I do not want to drink had never
occurred. That's a bit of an irritant, but I have gotten better
at not being flustered by it. My true issue with that is that
the main culprits involved are in fact aware that I am sober,
and it seems to be a game with them to try and get me to
partake. Or at the very least, they want to see if refusing
to acknowledge or respect my choice will upset me. Totally
not cool, but, also not worth getting excited about, so....

It's frustrating to be around folks who are acting like their
excessive drinking causes no side-effects, who are sort
of quietly defensive about their habits, and who are oblivious
to losing sight of such things as commanding all attention in
a room, forgetting how to close doors, and so forth.
Yes, I imagine this is what awareness feels like.

(Worth noting; this behavior is not particular to a period
of grieving; this is an all-year-long behavioral constant.)

So as drunks abound and your mother is reprising her role
as head critic of your every move--while heaping praise on
her new found family--I paused. Recognized the historical
nature of it all. All the personalities and animalistic nonsense.
The lack of importance of it all.

It was more difficult steering clear of the emotional and
head games than staving off any longing to drink. Other
than a momentary sense of being excluded from the group--
as the sole teetotaler--I was fine.

The shift of perspective from being 'tied in to what anyone
else thinks or does about me or to me,' to someone who
'is confident and complete within his own shell' is becoming
easier and easier to access, even in the most trying of

No matter the company, no matter the drama, no matter
the mindset, I still have absolute control over every one of
my choices and decisions. (And, had things been 'too much'
at the moment, I could always have left. There is nothing
I am obligated to endure, and certainly nothing worth the
sacrifice of my well-being!)


Friday, March 16, 2012

Truth in Advertising

Psychopathy and sociopathy can't be healed or cured...
but they can be utilized to the maximum in an environment
designed to create supplicancy and victimization.

Autonomy, anonymity, seclusion, inclusiveness, and
self-importance. A giant mistake for those considered
'the worst of the worst.' Who of these could deny the siren
call of potential wrong doing?

Convincing others to trust and demure themselves to
the least likely candidates imaginable is a recipe for
disaster. 12 Steps provides the perfect parameters for
providing prey to the predators predominant in the program.

Like leading lambs to the slaughter.

12 Step Programs are not governed or monitored in
any fashion; they promise the moon and are bound in no
way by any agency. "If it sounds too good to be true...."
Zero regulation, zero professionalism, zero science.
And despite millions of talking heads promoting the
wonders of the program, nearly zero results.

Your fate and welfare are in the hands of avowed psychos,
criminals, and manipulators....egomaniacs whose only
motivation is self-interest and meddling. Convincing you
of the sales pitch so that you will submit yourself.

A smile and a promise amount to a hill of beans
when gambling with people's lives.

Your care is explicitly not promised, promoted, or in
any way guaranteed. Proceed with extreme caution.

A con artist's most sincere sales pitch will always be that
you can trust them implicitly!


Thursday, March 15, 2012


"Bend it don't break it!"

Finding a way to 'get along' without
compromising individual needs and rights
is a tough fit.

Pretty much everyone has an agenda
that doesn't include your well-being,
and it is every person for themselves.
(Don't let anyone's smile or deftness
fool ya otherwise!)

But allowing for people's inadequacies,
inconsistencies, idiocies, illnesses, and
illogic can be taxing if we take it on a
case-by-case or specifics basis.

For self-preservation, the art of being
cool about stuff is a time-saver and a
stress-saver. You can't change most
things, so keeping your condemnation
secret and keeping your comments
restrained is possibly the best way to
avert conflict.

Yeah, sometimes conflict is needed to
protect your boundaries and lay things out
straight for folks, but not as an every-day
all-day venting.

Wanting things a certain way and
expecting things to turn out a certain way
are two completely different ball parks.
Choosing between them, and recognizing
that there is not always going to be
reconciliation, is a step towards peace.

The choice to avoid craziness and conflict is
taking power and remaining in control.
Not everything works out how we want;
how we respond to that reality is the maker
of new worlds.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Many Faces of AA

It might seem, at an AA or NA meeting, with
everyone scurrying to be on the same page
and show off who can act most 'godly' and 'spiritual,'
that it's all about the conformity. And naturally,
the 12 Steps would be nothing without conformity.

But there are actually a handful of very specific
'types' that make up the regular attendees of most
12 Step programs, and here's the breakdown!

1. The Fanatics.
The die-hard, actual honest-to-God believers.
The Big Book is divinely inspired, alcohol is a demon
that possesses souls, Bill W. was a saint, etc.
The cult of A.A. becomes a lifestyle choice which
they can adopt and memorize. Safety, comfort, dogma.
 2. The Predators/Managers/Con-Artists/Super Stars/

Perpetrating a fraud by adapting all the mannerisms
and dogma of the Program. Potentially indistinguish-
able from first glance. These are the
sociopaths and psychopaths that are adept at mimicking
emotions and seducing people with their lies. Perfect
fit with the dependence of 12 Step. Wolves in the fold.

3. The Ambivalent.  meh. Take it or leave it. Likely
to not make waves, just blend it, steer clear of conflict
and controversy. Never make any real poignant comments
or draw attention to self. It's a place to go.
Nonconfrontational, and very vanilla in their shares
(if they share at all.)

4. The Peeps.
Looking for someone to lead them; willing to do or say
whatever they need to. Malleable. No real personality
of their own other than following. Blank slates and no
real boundaries. Needy and desperate; will do whatever
makes others happy and gives them a 'home.' Sheep.
Victims for the wolves, and the primary target demo-
graphic for AA.

5. The Partials.
They kind of believe some of it, and the rest is sort of
insignificant, so they just figure 'why split hairs?' and
go along for the ride. A lot of people are in this boat;
they like the companionship and having somewhere to go,
and there are some ideas they agree with, but there's just
as much that they're at odds with. Constant back-and-forth
and ambivalence about the conflicting ideologies.

6. The Characters/Antagonists.
Controversial, need to be heard. Cranks. Attention
seekers. Make threats against people, cuss, act
outrageously, start conflicts with people. On-again,
off-again attendance. Contrary, defensive, instigators,
advice-givers, show boaters. Nowhere else to go.

7. The Lonely.
Not necessarily any  use for AA one way or another;
just lonely. May even feel that the only way to get anyone
to spend time with them is to go where you (supposedly)
can't be asked to leave. May be committed to sobriety or
have no interest in drying up, but they have no place else
to go. (May not even have an alcohol problem, self-confessed
or otherwise.) Willing to overlook the rigidity of program
for a hug and a cup of coffee.

8. The Attemptors.
Trying desperately to mesh their own beliefs with the
groups even though they are diametrically opposed.
Trying to accommodate the bullshit they hear. Trying to
'take what they like and leave the rest.'
Typically, these folks don't last long; when they end up
realizing there's no one else trying to compromise and
met them halfway. Finally it's ingrained that with 12 Step,
or at least the dogmatic disciples who run most groups,
it's 'their way or the highway.'
For them, the facade of the program's integrity has been
shattered beyond oversight.

Despite AA protocol, the groups are run by nothing
but personalities, and when petty dictators who have
been looking for a hole to roost in get their heels dug
in, it's Katie-bar-the-door.

Point being, there are a lot of hurting people who are
willing to try anything and everything to fill the void.
he fact that people attend AA by the masses in not
indicative of anything working. It's a sign of people's
loneliness and desperation. Nothing more.

What if we could teach them all to not drink, based
solely on the power within them? Oh, right...then they
wouldn't be dependent on coming back over and over.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Celebrate Recovery-ish

"Alcoholics Anonymous:
Celebrating over 75 proud years
of hiding in cellars, using fake names,
pushing religion, beating people down,
promoting shame and self-doubt,
and driving people to drink.

Nothing says 'Love' & 'Healing'
like judgment & completely inclusive,
conditional, performance-based

Everybody longs to be 'tolerated'
 and marginalized!

You will come to OBEY...
Or you will drink and DIE!
So decrees The Group!"


(Fortunately, reality and reason
have nothing to do with
the tripe promoted by the cult,
so any means of abstinence
that works for you is fine.
Live well and long)


"Welcome to A.A." recruitment

"Hi folks! Welcome to the Bill & Bob show!
I'm Bill Wilson, and even though Bob here and me are
 both dead, I still maintain a stranglehold over
the group, along with little baby Jesus, from beyond the
grave! It's all good--just don't drink over it.
(Well, nothing but the Kool-Aid, anyway!)

I gotta give myself props, cuz, ya
know, only an egotistical genius could come up
with a plan for promoting his own views,
getting his own ideas immortalized,
being considered a hero, and being
worshipped his own self...while carrying off
the illusion of selflessness in the process!
What are the odds! LOL!

Anyway, come on down to the Church of AA,
and fake your way through it long enough
to get to that beautiful Thirteenth Step!
Whooooo-wheee, it is some kind of worth it!
We call it "Fucking Your Way to
a Fake Recovery," but the censors had some kind
of problem with that.
I'm not so much for 'Truth in Advertising' anyway,
so no big.

It feels good to live-it-up in a second childhood
of every degradation except booze, since
I bypassed my real childhood as a horrible,
godless, selfish, drunk bastard.
(Or did I? The brain cells are rusty.)
But now, I get to foist all my crap on y'all
and use up your well of innocence!
Ah, life is good.
Come on down to your local AA clubhouse
so we can have our way with you, too.
If we don't have fresh meat,
we can't feed the Lions, baby!

Uh, sorry time for you to chime in today!"


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

When the show is over...

If you have to be obsessively devoted to something new
in order to let go of something old,
then it really isn't freedom, is it?

Live life, make good choices, move forward.

Stagnancy is for chumps.

I want to become strong, courageous, and free,
not remain limited, weak, and dependent.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Advancement or Death Sentence?

Addiction is so widespread, so rampant these days.
I don't believe it's simply because we're so virtually
well-connected (that we now are privy to statistics
we didn't have before) that we know fact
just the opposite.

I think our advancing compulsivity and cross-addicted
nature as a society, our relentless feeding of habits,
is being fueled in large part from over-exposure.

Over-exposure to information, as our brains are
only capable of dealing with and processing so

Overly easy access to anything we want, any
hour of the day or night. Temptations exist and
secrecy abounds in a tech-savvy world of cell
phones, computers, Internet hookups, and secret

A lot of rhetoric and lip service is given these
days to the technical overload of our modern lives,
but the harsh reality of these legitimate stresses
and continued pressures is building. There's a
double threat; increased exposure to negativity,
temptation, and vice, and the emotional and
physical isolation of overuse of technology
(addiction to computers, online gambling, pornography,
television, and other mood-altering escapist tendencies.)

Like with all addiction, the vehicle for the 'cure' is a
part of the initial problem!

The threat is not merely burnout (which, in itself,
leaves one open to addiction and further compulsivity,)
but rather the residual effect of the information, the
lifestyle, the sped-up living.

We were not meant to do everything.
We were not meant to understand everything.
We were not meant to know the amount of information
we are exposed to.
We were not meant to go-go-go, non-stop, always on,
never disconnected from things.
The technological dependence of our times has
accelerated and aggravated both extremes of this muddled
issue; hyperconnectedness, and disconnectedness.

Our minds and psyches have not had ample time--
just like our society--to adapt to the rapid-growth techno
changes that have occurred.

Life has become more complicated than it always was
as a result of how much we can do in a moment's notice...
no impulse control, no edit button, no erase on our clicks
and typings. Instant gratification has overridden the thoughtful,
reserved, consideration of mulling things over...waiting til
the time is right....considering the importance of something.
Considering repercussions.

High stakes, high speed, high on being in the mix;
we're addicted to the race and the thrill and the excitement...
when we're on top. And when we're not, the fall may hurt us.

And of course, for many, life is also just plain harder.
Economic woes have hit a great many people; joblessness,
homelessness, loss of status, greater number of divorces,
increased's all cyclically bound to and resulting
in a greater number of addictions and addicted persons.
Dominoes, baby.

The more we see, the more we're desensitized to it all.
The more isolated we become, the easier it is to use.
It's a given that as things grow and change and expand, the
greater the number of choices will be acompanied by a
greater number of bad choices.

Even the things which assist us can be abused, and
we should always be wary to be moderate in all things.


Recovery is Living

Tips for Staying Clean
and Enjoying Life

Worried about down time or spare time
being a burden or a problem?

Plant a garden...just for fun
Do yard work
Bake dessert..and deliver it to someone
Take a walk
Ride a bike
Tutor a child
Enjoy a meal
Write a letter
Read a book
Try scream therapy
Punch a punching bag
Take a proper lunch break
Watch a funny movie
Listen to inspirational music
Hold a door open for someone
Speak to 5 strangers today
Smile every time you see someone
Let go of worry
Feed a stray
Speak your mind
Opt out of drama
Own your choices
Follow a dream
Try something new
Challenge yourself
Take a class
Trust yourself
Watch the sun set

Life doesn't have to be lived as some kind
of cosmic chess game or high stakes
power play. We needn't be solemn and stark
and eternally wounded.

There are good, bad, and in between days.
Nobody feels like they're doing everything right
or that they have all they want.
There is no such thing as perfection
and there is no need to prostrate and repress.

I am alive, and I can enjoy my life as it is.

There is so much that I can do to stay busy,
and not give in to addiction.
I can also relax and enjoy quiet time
without doubting myself and ruminating.


What we think we see...

"Re-framing" is the technique wherein people in
recovery learn to adjust--rethink--the way they
look at things. Relationships, data, drugs, the world;
everything we see through our old eyes is suspect
when we have had a history of considering and
assessing things from the point of active addiction.

The problem is that a person with an addictive
personality shares some pretty outrageous points
of view (denial, paranoia, juvenile behavior,
compulsivity, etc.)
which can either be prolonged or heightened
(or both) by using.

These 'stinking thinking' thoughts can also become
frozen in time at roughly the place a person was
when they started using.
Add to this that addictive behavior--and drugs/
alcohol themselves--can intensify and rewire the brain
to more significantly consider wild thinking,
and induce new ways of incorrectly interpreting the world
around us.

(Thoughts experienced under the influence can
resonate more strongly than thoughts considered
under normal circumstances, just like thoughts
that constantly or repetitively cycle can form a
groove--and even cause enhanced neural sensitivity.)

So, once sober/clean, the need to learn a new way
of viewing things is necessary.
It starts with questioning what we know,
versus what we think we know.

Do people really ostracize and malign us,
or are we oft-putting with our brashness
without even realizing it?
Is everyone untrustworthy, or are we
unwilling or unable to trust due to bad experiences?

Reframing is rewiring the brain to see that
not all of our deeply held beliefs and opinions
may be correct or justified.

Do you really need a drink in your hand
(or in your gut) in order to chat or date or fuck,
or are you just scared of talking to people
and in need of facing that?

Do you really have to have a drink when everyone
else is having one, or can you do what is best
for you, regardless of what the crowd says
or thinks?

What we steadfastly held true
could all be otherwise.
"Free your mind; the rest will follow."


Faulty Logic

The idea that we can adequately or
romantically address the needs of the average
addicted person by 'treating' them with
the volatility and parasitically dire
source of addiction
is like using a chainsaw
to perform brain surgery.

In our affected, unclear, craziness of
choosing active addiction, of listening to the
"This time will be different" or
"I don't have a problem" lies that
we tell ourselves in order to get what we
think we want,
we can overlook all reality, signals,
and lessons in favor of self-destruction.

The 'cure' is truly worse than the pain.

If we start out from a place of being whelmed,
 hypersensitivity, vulnerability, pain
resounding endlessly, too much of this world
weighing down on us, pressures and stress and
fear, sensory overload, and all the rest
that can lead us to want to check out for a
while and avoid responsibility...
what can we possibly think we will gain by
opening up Pandora's Box and adding
fuel to the fire?
Using is a way of turning over our life's reigns
to catastrophe.

When we learn to care about ourselves
and our lives, we realize that active addiction
is not a harmless, victimless crime.